The Dutch surname of VAN BRUNT was derived from the Old Norman word 'brandre' meaning fire-sword, it was an old Norman personal name found in medieval times in France and Germany, where the name was rendered as HILDEBRAND. In Germany the name was also used as a locational name meaning the dweller at the area that had been cleared by fire. Other spellings of the name include VAN BRENT, VAN BRANT and the name is a cognate of the German name BRANDE. Noteworthy persons of the name include Johann Lukas von HILDEBRANDT (1668-1745) who was the Austrian architect, born in Genoa. A fortifications engineer in the Austrian army from 1695 to 1701, he trained in Genoa and then in Rome, and became court engineer in Vienna in 1701. Adolf HILDEBRAND (1847-1921) was the German sculptor, born in Harburg. He sought a renaissance of classical realism in his public monuments to Brahms at Meiningen, Bismarck at Bremen, Schiller at Nuremberg, and founded a new school of art criticism by his 'Das Problem der Form' (1893). In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. Dutchmen who have surnames from towns, cities or districts, are mostly distinguished by the prefix VAN. In the United States the use of capital and initial letters and spaces is optional with the particular family. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. Compared to other countries, Dutch heraldry is notably simpler, some of the shields bearing only a single charge. Generally speaking one helmet, one shield and one crest has been used, quartering is uncommon and mottoes are rare.
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